BC’s minimum wage is going up, but some workers are still exempted from the minimum wage. For example, liquor servers, farm workers and live-in home support workers can all be paid at rates lower than minimum wage.
The Fair Wages Commission will be submitting a report on minimum wage exemptions in the next few weeks and our government will have the chance to end these unfair rules. Let’s make sure they hear our voices.
Too many people in BC are working hard, often in more than one job, but still not making ends meet. Many workers tell us: we needed a $15 minimum wage yesterday! BC has the highest working poverty rate in Canada so increasing the minimum wage is part of rebuilding the economic security of British Columbians and tackling rising inequality but the 420,000 people currently earning less than $15 will still be struggling for years. It’s simply unacceptable to leave people in poverty yet we continue to do so.
The BC government’s announcement to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour is good news for low-wage workers in BC but the long timeline will continue to keep workers in poverty for too long. Following the recommendations from the first Fair Wages Commission report, the government will increase the minimum wage incrementally until reaching $15.20 in 2021.The Fair Wages Commission report itself states that no one among the presenting employers “felt that it was possible to live on the minimum wage.” Workers and community advocates presenting to the Commission brought that reality to life with stories of the hardships and the impacts on worker’s health, family, and community.
In Spring 2018, there will be further consultation on bringing the minimum wage in line with the living wage. This can be done through investment in a strong poverty reduction plan including universal childcare and social housing. Without the increase to $15 this year or next, we need to immediately see strong action in BC’s poverty reduction plan to bring down the cost of living. We’ll share information about these further consultations, when we receive it closer to that date.
You can read submissions from the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and our members to the Fair Wages Commission here:
You can read the Fair Wages Commission’s first report here: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/237/2018/02/Report-1_BC-Fair-Wages-Commission_Jan-2018.pdf